summer CSA, week 2 Thursday, Jun 18 2015 

This is a chromatically pleasing pickup! Perfectly sweet blueberries; kale, green leaf lettuce, green beans, cucumber, and an extra bunch of parsley; a huge stack of yellow squash; red-skinned potatoes; orange (brown) eggs, and a loaf of soft golden challah.

summer CSA, week 2

Kale, lettuce, and green beans disappear fairly quickly in our house, but not so much the yellow squash. I’ve got my eye on smitten kitchen’s squash and potato torte recipe. It looks kind of fiddly* to prepare, what with all the slicing and arranging and so on, but I think I can find time this weekend. As a bonus, I can fold in some of the green onions and thyme that are going gangbusters in our container garden.

*as a salary mom with an infant and a preschooler, who can only really cook on evenings and weekends, I now evaluate recipes on the basis of “how easy is this to prepare while the kids are awake?” So anything that needs lots of fine knife work, or constant stirring on the stovetop, has to be tabled until after the kids go to bed. This torte, for instance, looks like a great contender for a prepare-the-night-before, bake-up-the-next-day type of approach.

Got upsold at Mrs. K’s Toll House Monday, Jun 15 2015 

Say you ordered a vegetarian dish, and got an add-on of meat; of course you’re willing to pay a little extra for the add-on, but how much is acceptable? If your dish is an $18 risotto, would you accept an extra $5 for some shrimp? How about $8?

How about $16?

This past Friday, I met up with a few friends at Mrs. K’s Toll House Restaurant. It’s in an old converted toll house, just north of downtown Silver Spring. It’s surrounded by green, manicured gardens, and the location itself is a beautiful building full of antique furniture. I loved it. Great ambiance. The service was wonderful, too, very attentive and courteous, and the food was delicious.

I even remembered to take a picture of my dinner, the mushroom risotto:

mushroom risotto from Mrs K's

Yes, that’s more than just mushrooms. When I ordered, the waitress asked if I would like to add on some shrimp. And I said, sure! I didn’t mind paying a little extra for protein. The shrimp, blackened and just a hint spicy, was a delicious counterpoint to the rich, creamy risotto. It was an great pairing – kind of like an amped-up shrimp and grits.

Really, everything was going swimmingly until we got the bill, which showed that I had spent $18 for my mushroom risotto, and $16 for the add-on of shrimp.

I called the waitress over, just to make sure there wasn’t some mistake, and she verified that yes, I had paid $16 – almost 90% of the cost of my entire entree – for five pieces of shrimp.

That’s $3.20 a shrimp.

I mean, it was good shrimp, but not that good.

This meant that my shrimp-and-mushroom risotto came to a grand total of $34, which, I believe, made it more expensive than anything on the menu except the crab cakes and the filet mignon.

Sure, I could have (and should have) asked what the charge would have been for the shrimp add-on. But, you know, if adding on a protein effectively doubled the price of someone’s dish, you’d think it would be polite to mention it, right?

I thought briefly about stiffing the waitstaff on the tip, but the service really had been exceptional otherwise, and besides, our party of five had an automatic service charge on the bill. So I let it go.

But I’m definitely not going there to get upsold again.

summer/fall CSA, week 1 Thursday, Jun 11 2015 

The CSA is back! *throws confetti* I’ve managed to get by with the farmer’s markets, but there’s no substitute for picking up a week’s worth of vegetables that I, uh, had no say in selecting. (Well, technically I can select my beets from a pile of other beets. But I still can only get beets. Especially since there were nothing but beets at the trade table. Fellow CSA members, can you truly be soured on beets already?)

First week of the summer CSA brought us a ton of leafy greens to eat: green leaf lettuce, rainbow chard, spinach, and the greens from the aforementioned beets meant that it was a very leafy pickup. Also in the pickup: spring onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and the usual eggs and bread (Breadery 3-seed).

summer/fall CSA, 2015 week 1

I cut up and washed the green leaf lettuce right away. Lettuces don’t hold up well in the fridge. We had it alongside white rice and a frittata of kielbasa, spinach, and cheddar cheese. The Little Prince actually ate his entire serving of “egg pie”, much to my delight.

No fancy plans for the rest of the pickup; I might end up just sauteeing the beet greens together with the chard, let the thick-stemmed greens hang out together. Zucchini is fantastic tossed with a bit of olive oil and spice, and baked on a sheet pan or quickly sauteed on the stovetop. Spring onion greens might go in another frittata with the mushrooms (there are oh so many eggs in the house right now), and I’ll save the spring onion bulbs to throw on the grill next time it’s fired up (they turn sweet and smoky and fantastic; I highly recommend it). Beets, I’ll probably try some sort of pickle. Or puree into soup with a little garlic and cream.

The weather yesterday was beautiful and I was absolutely loving being at the farm. It was nice to see the llamas again, too. Hi, llamas!

llamas say hi